National Tropical Botanical Garden

Seana Walsh, National Tropical Botanical Garden

When conducting plant reintroductions with the help of volunteers it is useful to do a measure of advance planning. Considerations might include such items as taking into account how many volunteers are attending and making sure that there are enough tools and gloves available. It is important to be certain that each plant is labeled with a unique id that corresponds to a field tag. It is good practice to survey the reintroduction site in advance and place the field tags where the plants will go. On the day of planting, explain the full protocol, from how to clean boots going into (and leaving) the site, to how to best remove the plant from its pot and orient it in the new setting. On site, consider providing snacks and taking group photos. After the planting show appreciation for the received assistance by sending a thank you note or following up after six months with a picture of how well the plants are doing. Showing appreciation for the volunteers will likely encourage them to return and volunteer again.

Contributing Author(s): 
Date Recorded: 
Monday, December 2, 2019

Seana Walsh, Dustin Wolkis, and Ken Wood, National Tropical Botanical Garden

Phyllostegia electra (Lamiaceae) is endemic to the mesic and wet forests of Kaua'i. It is listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and is a focal species for achieving conservation objectives outlined in the Hawai'i Strategy for Plant Conservation. With less than 50 known wild individuals among 15 subpopulations, P. electra is also a focal species of the University of Hawai'i's Plant Extinction Prevention Program. It is not, however, protected by the Endangered Species Act.

A grant from the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund is supporting NTBG staff to: 1) make conservation collections from wild populations, 2) conduct a genetic diversity study in collaboration with Chicago Botanic Garden (CBG), 3) outplant into protected and managed habitat, and 4) investigate optimal seed storage methods.

Eighteen remote field work trips have been undertaken since March 2017 to secure conservation collections and obtain leaf material for the genetic diversity study. Genetic marker (microsatellites) development was recently completed and silica-dried leaf material sent to CBG for DNA extraction. Since June 2017, 215 individuals have been outplanted into Kalalau Exclosure and NTBG Gardens and Preserves. Preliminary results of our investigation into optimal seed storage indicate that seeds do not tolerate exposure to liquid nitrogen without prior desiccation. We also found that germination was significantly higher in the 42% eRH frozen treatment compared to the 30% eRH frozen treatment. This work is directly contributing to the conservation of this rare taxon and we are using this multi-faceted project model in our approach to conserving other rare plant taxa as well.

Contributing Author(s): 
Date Recorded: 
Friday, May 3, 2019

Seana Walsh and Dustin Wolkis, National Tropical Botanical Garden

New fungal pathogens are threatening the most ecologically and culturally important native tree in Hawai‘i, ‘ōhi‘a (Metrosideros spp.). Two undescribed taxa of Ceratocystis cause Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death (ROD), destroying large stands of ‘ōhi‘a forest on Hawai‘i Island. In preparation for the potential future spread of ROD across the state, seeds of all Metrosideros taxa on all the Hawaiian islands need to be collected, banked, and reciprocated, for resistance testing and for use in potential, future reintroductions. One of the main challenges in initiating a coordinated effort to collect seeds on Kaua‘i is deciding how much seed to collect and from which locations. Seed zones, geographically delineated areas within which seed from originating zone can be transferred to help ensure material is ecologically appropriate for the local environment, were not established in Hawai‘i. Staff from the National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG) and Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife, worked together to create generalized provisional seed zones for the island of Kaua‘i. Further, a proposal submitted to the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority by NTBG, to collect, bank and reciprocate seed collections, was supported. Across all 10 seed zones and all four Metrosideros taxa native to Kaua‘i, our collection goal for 2018 is between 6 and 20 million seeds, through both single and bulk seed collections, from over 1,000 individual trees. This work is currently underway.

Contributing Author(s): 
Date Recorded: 
Thursday, May 3, 2018